HARRISBURG (TNS) — Another school district in Pennsylvania has announced that it will not allow students access to their cell phones during the school day.
The Washington School District in western Pennsylvania changed its policy just before the start of the new school year, according to WPXI.
“We don’t just need students physically here,” Washington High School principal Chet Henderson told the news station. “We need students mentally here and engaging our students in the classroom will only enhance their individual success.”
The Ringgold School District announced plans to crack down on cellphone use last week.
“We first looked at different ways to manage cellphones,” Henderson told WPXI. “I’ll be the first to admit that initially I was the one who said, let’s teach students how to be responsible with their cellphones. For example, if they want to use them in hallways, use them in hallways. If you are texting. But just being in class. Listening to teachers, it has become a thing where you see and observe that a lot of class time has become addressing cell phones. Put away your cell phone. I need your attention. And that just takes away from student learning.
The district will use Yondr pouches, which place smartphones in a secure, locked pocket. The district will provide every student in grades 7 through 12 — there are about 650 — a pouch.
At the start of each school day, students should place their phone in the pocket and lock it. They can unlock the pocket at the end of the day using a device near the doors.
Any replacement pouch will cost the student $20.
Some parents and students have expressed concerns that the policy would prevent them from getting in touch with family members in an emergency.
Anna Hyslop, a college student and mother of two, told WPXI that she worries she won’t be able to check her cell phone during the day.
“If one of them were to have an accident,” she said, “I don’t want to have to find out through the office.”
Washington High English teacher Treg Campbell told WPXI he understands these concerns, but cellphones can be detrimental in an emergency.
“Most national safety and security officials say that in an emergency it is most important to keep the phones off and to keep students engaged and to listen to administrations or staff,” said he declared. “In an emergency, students must be quiet. You don’t want to hear pings from phones.
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